The Papillon is one of the oldest breed known. The name Papillon is French and means 'butterfly' because of the long fringed hair around its ears and was often shown painted in the laps of French and Spanish noblewomen. It was not really until the end of the 19th century that the Papillon (erect ears) gained more popularity.
It is said that Marie Antoinette's pet Papillon was carried by herself to the guillotine and was then later cared for in a building that is still named Papillon House. This si confusing as tradition has it that Marie Antoinette's dog was a Spaniel!
The papillon has erect ears but another breed that came from the Papillon is called the Phaléne and this had drooping ears. The ears on both define the breeds. The Phaléne is the older of the two.
As a pet, Papillons are energetic and love playing outdoors and are very loyal. With good training they can be a part of any family, even one that has a cat. As with all dogs the lack of training and love can lead to certain behavioural problems such as obsessive barking, growling, aggression and untrustworthiness around young children.